Successful Commercial Guard interview!!

Discussion in 'Railway Jobs & Careers' started by Chris1978, 31 Oct 2019.

  1. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    7 Mar 2018
    So after interviewing for the Commercial Guard role I have been told I passed the interview impressively and am currently awaiting my start date for training with January a possibility.

    I'm over the moon with this news and hope that I get my start date sooner rather than later.
    Just wondered if anybody on here could fill in some of the blanks for me from the interview as there were a few things I forgot to ask or felt best to leave to a later date.

    Firstly we did discuss the shift rotation, I understand as expected this will involve both very early starts and late finishes and will be a rolling pattern allowing you to work out your shifts way in advance, but can anyone give me a better insight into this as in what are the usual working hours of the shifts and how does it work with weekends? I'm assuming you work some weekends and have some as days off on the rolling pattern? Also they said a shift should be 8-9 hours but never more than 12, I'm guessing this is due to delays and so forth, so say your shift ran the maximum length of 12 hours do you get extra pay or is this just part and parcel of the role, if so that's fair as I know the salary is extremely generous and that's probably partly to accommodate flexible working with the shift lengths but I'm just curious as to how exactly this works.

    They mentioned there is no sick pay during training which is fair enough, but do you have a sick pay entitlement once qualified? I ask this as I know they are conscious of fatigue and if you've had a bad nights sleep and dont feel capable of performing your role they would prefer you to call in sick but obviously if you are then not paid it puts pressure on you to come to work, I know this as my current job does not pay sick pay unless very longterm and even then its limited, so there is tremendous pressure to drag yourself in no matter how unwell.

    I never discussed pension? Can anyone give any details, is it a pretty standard company pension?

    I didn't want to ask too much about perks in the interview obviously but as a SWR employee I know you are entitled to a certain amount of discounted travel using services under the First umbrella. Can anyone give me a idea of exactly how this works? I think I remember hearing travel is free on SWR for myself and 2 family members and then its discounted on all other railway/travel services?
     
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  3. JaMa9

    JaMa9 Member

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  4. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    Thank you that does answer some of my questions.

    With the weekend working I was wondering more roughly how many weekends are you likely to be working on average per month for example? Is it one on one off or something similar? Do you work more than you have off or vice versa? My current shift pattern is 4 on 4 off which works out that you more or less do a month where you work nearly every weekend then a month where you have almost every weekend off so you work 50% of weekends through the year.

    Do you receive company sick pay after a certain length of service at least?

    Think pretty much everything else was covered in the thread.
     
  5. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    Rosters will vary from depot to depot, at mine you get one long weekend off a month lasting from Thurs - Sun, work six days then have Sun & Mon off. Then it's seven days on before having Tues & Weds off and another seven days until your next long weekend. Depending on what link you are on can also make a difference but depending on how popular that link is it will come down to seniority.

    Sick pay kicks in after you are working trains on your own afaik.
     
  6. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    That shift pattern doesn't seem too bad, similar to some of the patterns I've worked in security. Am I also right in thinking a set number of your annual leave days are ad hoc? So you could use these to give yourself a few extra weekends off if you wished?

    So in regard to the timings of the shifts I'm guessing that if you're on a early shift as in a 0400 start you should be finished by about 1000-1100? Then is there a middle shift that runs something like 1000-1800 then a late shift of 1800-0200?
     
  7. Monty

    Monty Established Member

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    You get 7 days of adhoc leave that you can apply for at your convenience. Then you have a week of rostered leave in the spring, autumn and winter as well as two weeks in the summer. These can be changed if there are vacant 'slots' on the holiday roster or if you exchange with another person.

    :lol:

    I started at 0400 yesterday morning and wasn't done until 1330...

    A lot of our shorter shifts used to be in the early morning but since the new timetable everything has been extended. I won't lie to you but expect a lot of 9 1/2 - 10 hour turns..
     
  8. Bungle158

    Bungle158 Member

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    Location:
    Benaulim Goa
    Some of the turns may look long, but they were well larded with breaks in my day and l don't think that has changed. We used to work 4 day rotas, which gives quite evenly spaced time off, but no weeks of accumulated rest days.

    Although the job can be intense and requires 100% concentration on safety issues, there are plenty of down time moments and stints of riding to jobs on the cushions or sitting spare. It's all part of the day and all paid.

    Without passengers, the job would be a breeze but they are a necessary evil. Just remember safety is your paramount concern and far more important than revenue, despite what some, so called management may imply. To that end consider joining the RMT as soon as you can. Good luck.
     
  9. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    I dont really have a issue with lengthy shifts, I currently work 12 hours per shift in security but this is on a 4 on 4 off pattern and I currently only do days, however I've done more than my share of much less relaxed shift patterns, days, nights, earlies, lates etc over the years.
    A key thing for me is weekends, working 4 on 4 off in security gives me 50% of weekends off through the year and a good amount of long weekends. Given that fewer trains run at weekends I was hoping that the SWR roster would allow me a similar amount of weekends at home through the year, I would be pretty happy with a rotation that over a month maybe had one full weekend off a Friday/Saturday off a Sunday/Monday off and then working a full weekend, from what I've heard so far it doesn't sound like that would be too far out of the question? Plus the difference with the SWR shifts is some at least should allow me a decent chunk of the day at home, in security it's always 12 hours 06:30-18:30 whichever day of the week I work.

    So you mention your shift ran 0400-1330, did your shift run over or was this your rostered hours? I understand it's the nature of the role that shifts will often run over by a considerable amount of time.

    They talked about the rostered holidays, I fully understand that they cannot allow just a free for all with holidays but I'm assuming there is flexibility so if you wanted 2 weeks in the spring instead of summer that could be requested? I guess you can also tag ad hoc days onto rostered leave to extend it too?

    Thank you, I'm looking forward to it and really hoping for a January start.
    When you worked these 4 day rosters was it 4 shifts then just 1 or 2 days off?
     
  10. Geoff Steere

    Geoff Steere New Member

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    Guild
    Depends on depot. I have 4 weeks of lates currently (3 day weekend off, 7 lates then 2 days off, then 4 on 1 off etc.) then onto a few weeks of earlies.
    Averages out to 42 hrs a week normally. Get paid for all hours worked including an shifts that run over (but need to phone up for any extra payment to be approved)
    My earliest start is 0410 and our latest finish is 0120. Some depots have night shifts to provide 24hr cover too. Get rota for 6 month period ( new one starts December but not had it yet) and you can see your days off for that period.
     
  11. Chris1978

    Chris1978 Member

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    42 hours per week I have no problem with, I average that currently working 12 hour shifts on a 4 on 4 off pattern, to be honest working anything less than 12 hours in a day is going to be a treat for me and feel like part-time hours as I've worked 12's for so long now.
    I think the biggest issue for me will be getting to sleep early enough when I've got those early starts, but I've done 0400 and 0500 starts in the past and always coped fine, fortunately I'm a early riser these days and I'm well acclimatised to working different shifts. I'm sure they said at the interview that the earliest start time at my depot would be 0330 which sounds a crazy time to start work but fortunately I live less than 10 minutes from the station! With starts that early you'd expect a night shift to become part of the roster eventually perhaps?

    So after passing the interview what is the normal amount of time to receive the call with a start date? They told me I should hear by the end of November but followed that up with if you dont hear by then give us a call?
     
    Last edited: 6 Nov 2019

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